Be Company for You
The invalid wife is buried, her cat swells into a leopard and a tiger. The hallucination begins at the graveside with a straightforward representation of the widower’s mind congruent with each shot, it drifts and is caught up again in a new focus of attention.
There is the wife’s best friend and a postcard from Italy, “she is with me in spirit”. There is the secretary no longer enthused.
The bell by her bed keeps ringing, clapperless. He takes a large kitchen knife to the tiger in the garden, cutting verdure. He resigns himself, weeping.
The best friend finds claw marks on the bedroom door, the widower lies in bed dripping blood, the cat hasn’t eaten its dinner, it’s on the floor beside him.
Hatred Unto Death
A gorilla has fallen into a lion pit, tribesmen stop a passing Land Rover. The two researchers from the Museum of Natural History get out to inspect the creature. The wife coos at it, it beams upon her but vociferates at the husband and tries to attack him. “Why does he hate me so? Have we met before, a million years ago?” He resolves on the spot to sell it to his friend Dr. Ramirez at the Neurological Institute, maybe micro-electrodes in its brain will unravel their mutual hatred, the proceeds will finance the conclusion of their book on “the social life of a tribe of monkeys.”
They name it N’Gi, “Watusi for ‘Chief’ and the god of earthquakes, tidal waves, war and pestilence.” Dr. Ramirez views N’Gi at the Museum. “All that malevolence.”
“I think my wife has a thing going, I think she prefers gorillas to men.” She replies, “gorillas don’t drop napalm on children.”
She talks to N’Gi. “They dug a pit for you and you fell in. He’s grown pale and weak and hairless. What has happened to your power?”
He tells Dr. Ramirez, “I want you to turn him into a vegetable.”
Due to her inadvertence, the gorilla escapes. He has a revolver, there is a tense situation in the darkened back galleries of the Museum at night. His sixth and final shot fells the beast. “This has happened before, it will happen again.” It stands up, breaks or impales him on an exhibit, and dies.
This in the hands of Steve Forrest and Dina Merrill, with Fernando Lamas. A Fine Madness (dir. Irvin Kershner) and Borges find their way into it, not to mention Cooper & Schoedsack’s King Kong and a short play by Nabokov called The Grand-dad, in which old hatreds burble up by what is called here “a memory in the blood”.